Ardanaiseig Hotel – Visiting Scotland's Most Romantic Hotel with … Toddlers

Ardanaiseig Hotel, on the banks of Loch Awe in Argyll, has been chosen by the editors of the Good Hotel Guide 2017 as their favourite Country House Hotel and Romantic Hotel in Scotland. It is the only hotel chosen in Scotland in both categories. This speaks volumes about Ardanaiseig and I’m delighted that there’s at least one hotel north of the border cutting it.

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Ardanaiseig Hotel

But, like many parents, I often veer towards ‘family friendly’ establishments. I worry that if I take two small children somewhere especially ‘nice’ the atmosphere will be compromised for other guests. Firstly, I had to point out to myself that there are plenty of luxury hotels that simply do not welcome children, or do not welcome under twelves, therefore if people wish to avoid ‘little people’ it’s pretty easy to do so. Ardanaiseig welcomes all ages therefore we could all relax and that’s the bottom line. So what was it like visiting a luxurious and romantic Scottish hotel with two toddlers in tow?

LOCATION – Ardanaiseig is in a remote location, somewhere people escape to. As we drove up the winding drive and saw the country house with its atmospheric patina of age, it felt like we’d arrived somewhere quite magical.

CHECK IN – We were welcomed and checked in by Mario. Due to the remote location of Ardanaiseig the staff ‘live in’ so they literally live and breathe the hotel. Service is personal and hugely welcoming. We were given a brief tour of the common areas which included a particularly beautiful Christmas tree which mesmerised me as much as the children.

THE ROOM – We were led to the Kilchurn room which is a large, sumptuous space. The toddler bed and travel cot were waiting for us, as well as a vast and elegant four poster bed. The bed was so expansive that when both our children decided to join us in the dead of the night I, the mother, had plenty of room rather than falling asleep on a wafer-thin knife edge (climbers who bivouac on cliff shelves have nothing on mums who do this for years on end). The Kilchurn room was spacious enough to include a dressing table, a lounge area with sofa and television, as well as a seating area with two large armchairs – it felt very indulgent getting ready for dinner at my own dressing table (despite the noise of the kids in the background). We, as a family, could relax in so much space.

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The stunning Christmas tree in Ardanaiseig’s Drawing Room

DINING – We were given two options. Dine in the Drawing Room with the children’s menu, last orders before 6pm. Or take a table in the restaurant with the a la carte menu from 7pm onwards. We opted for the early dinner with the children’s menu and arrived to a table set in a stunning room just for us. We were the only guests dining here as we were the only ones with tots dining from the children’s menu.

The Ardanaiseig restaurant has an excellent reputation. Tony Singh trained here back in the day. But I hadn’t realised that if we dined in the Drawing Room the adults would be offered a bar meal whereas the A La Carte menu looked delicious. So we fed our children at 6pm, then ate ourselves at 7pm. Fish Goujons for Mr Toddler, Tomato Pasta for Mr Baby and Seared Isle of Mull Scallops, Breast of Guinea Fowl with roast garlic and braised cabbage, and a Dark Chocolate Pot with Beetroot Jam for me. Mr Husband had Braised Shoulder and Cheek of Pork to start, Charred Sirloin of Angus Beef as a main and Granny Smith Apple Fritters for dessert. It was worth waiting for.

The surroundings were desperately Downton. As we finished, most ‘romantic’ guests were having their pre-dinner drinks in the bar so we didn’t intrude on any prospective proposals or moments. And we weren’t ghettoised by being placed in the Drawing Room, I felt we were elevated as it’s a beautiful room, and we’d always been made welcome to dine in the restaurant if we’d chosen that path.

THE GROUNDS – As we’d arrived after dark it was only the next day we saw the views of Loch Awe from the window. Scotland at its best. After breakfast we explored the extensive grounds. From a Walled Garden, to a small play fort, to the aged plants and trees creeping overhead and underfoot. The grounds are atmospheric and have their own history. All quite Secret Garden.

I can see why Ardanaiseig is a renowned wedding destination. The amphitheatre which overlooks the loch is where outdoor wedding ceremonies often take place. Rose Cottage offers self-catering accommodation and the renovated Boathouse is a modern accommodation option with breathtaking views and privacy, anyone can book the exclusive Boathouse but it’s often used by brides and grooms on their wedding night.

The loch itself is still, eery and seems to go on forever. As I said, Scotland at its best. Mr Husband described Ardanaiseig as a place to read books, relax and make babies, but whether you’re seeking a special place to spend with the love of your life, or a country escape with the little, cute, noisy, playful loves of your life, there’s room for you on the shores of Loch Awe.

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Mr Baby takes in the views of Loch Awe

THE LOWDOWN – We drove direct from Aberdeen (about 4.5-5 hours) stopping at Noah’s Ark Soft Play in Perth for lunch and a run around for the kids. Do contact Ardanaiseig at HELLO@ARDANAISEIG.COM or telephone 01866 833 333 to find out more.

If you like what you read then don’t miss a post, enter your email address in the ‘Follow’ box then click ‘Follow’ or join the conversation on Facebooktwitterpinterest and instagram at Tots2Travel. For any queries or opportunities please email tots2travel@hotmail.com. All images copyright of Tots2Travel. Tots2Travel received a complimentary night’s stay and evening meal at Ardanaiseig. I’d take the massive four poster bed home with me in a heartbeat.

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37 Comments

  1. Reply

    Rashminotes

    January 24, 2017

    Seems like a great place!

  2. Reply

    motherhoodtherealdeal

    January 25, 2017

    Proving that romance and toddlers can indeed mix – what a beautiful stay!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 25, 2017

      Often anxiety about taking children somewhere is in the parent’s head and nobody else’s. We were very welcome. Beautiful part of the world.

  3. Reply

    joannavictoria

    January 25, 2017

    What a lovely looking place its great that you can go to a romantic place but also have kids with you. I definitely worry about a suitability of places when we are going somewhere with our son and it makes me feel very anxious.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 25, 2017

      I realised that most people with children do different things at different times to those without. And to be fair most people do actually quite like wee ones.

  4. Reply

    Kat

    January 25, 2017

    I’ve never been in Scotland but I would love to go! Food looks really delicious and that place and hotel- beautiful and a little mysterious:) It’s great you had a nice time with your kids:)

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 25, 2017

      Yes, I liked the mix of luxury and old world mystery too. Definitely an atmosphere to the place.

  5. Reply

    Jo (Fallen Angel)

    January 25, 2017

    It looks like a stunning place. That Christmas tree was like a picture postcard!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 25, 2017

      I’ve seen Christmas trees in New York and London but nothing as beautiful as this one. It was perfect.

  6. Reply

    Sian

    January 26, 2017

    This looks stunning. I am bookmarking for a future Scotland trip….Rose Cottage would be perfect as I prefer having separate bedrooms. I bet my kids would love exploring in the grounds.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 26, 2017

      There’s a lot to be said for separate bedrooms especially when kids are a little older. Rose Cottage looks lovely.

  7. Reply

    lisagraham1

    January 26, 2017

    It looks stunning, the hotel and the rooms are gorgeous. The food looks very impressive too. What a lovely place for a get away.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 26, 2017

      As it was so remote it felt like a real break away from everything. The lovely food was a bonus too.

  8. Reply

    five little doves

    January 26, 2017

    Oh wow what a gorgeous place!! The food looks absolutely delicious!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 26, 2017

      The a la carte menu was excellent. Such beautiful surroundings too.

  9. Reply

    Newcastle Family Life

    January 28, 2017

    This looks amazing, very luxurious and relaxing. It is great that it is so child friendly with separate menus as this is something I often worry about when we visit hotels as my children are rather fussy eaters. x

  10. Reply

    fifi + hop

    January 28, 2017

    Beautiful looking spot..nice you were able to enjoy it with the kids!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 31, 2017

      They somehow slipped into this life of luxury with ease 😉

  11. Reply

    ChelseaMamma

    January 29, 2017

    Oh my, what a beautiful place to stay, the views, the rooms and that Christmas tree – stunning

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 31, 2017

      It was all a bit of a visual treat!

  12. Reply

    Tanja

    January 30, 2017

    very charming place!:) #mondayescapes

  13. Reply

    pigeonpairandme

    January 30, 2017

    I would share your reservations about taking my two to a ‘romantic’ destination, but it’s great that you’re able to do so. Parents need romance too! #MondayEscapes

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 30, 2017

      Romance with rugrats. Hear hear to that!

  14. Reply

    Notmyyearoff

    January 30, 2017

    Everytime I click on your blog you put more scottish road trip ideas into my head. This hotel looks so nice and wow that bed. I just love that they have a travel cot option too because we always travel with our boys, romantic or not 🙂

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 30, 2017

      That’s so nice to hear. For a small country there does seem to be an almost endless list of great destinations to visit.
      I especially love when a travel cot is up and made so you don’t have to drag it about. Small details make you feel welcome.

  15. Reply

    Coombe Mill

    January 30, 2017

    A lovely looking retreat with some great looking countryside around for lovely family walks #MondayEscapes

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 30, 2017

      The kind of place where time stands still.

  16. Reply

    travelingchristie

    January 30, 2017

    It looks breathtaking that scenery is just incredible, I do love a beautiful hotel, and have always taken the boys along with us, we have been very lucky to have never had a problem, Thanks so much for linking up #MondayEscapes

  17. Reply

    Tania @ Larger Family Life

    January 31, 2017

    I’m not sure about taking my kids along to this one but a romantic night away sounds bliss! Though, truth be told, I’d probably sleep…

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 31, 2017

      Guessing you’d like to keep it all to yourself and your partner 🙂

  18. Reply

    minitravellers

    January 31, 2017

    Oh my word it looks absolutely amazing and I couldn’t agree more about the four poster bed. That food looks wonderful too! #MondayEscapes

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      January 31, 2017

      It was old worlde charm. The Christmas tree blew me away!

  19. Reply

    Anabel Marsh

    January 31, 2017

    We stayed here for New Year once – fireworks by the loch. Glad to see it is still as lovely.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      February 1, 2017

      That sounds a lovely way to see in the new year. Yes still a lovely hotel.

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